Future of Police Department Location to be Evaluated
Built in 1982, the Marshfield Police Department is in need of necessary upgrades. At the latest City of Marshfield Common Council in December, Council approved a Facility and Space Needs study to be conducted on the department, an important step towards the department’s future.
“The building is 35 years old now and from what I’m told, it was built with a life expectancy of about 30 years without renovations.” said Police Chief Rick Gramza. “We see the need to expand or build at a new location. What we have budgeted for in 2018 is for individuals to come in and do a study and tell us what our space needs are and what we have available at our current location.”
In addition to the building itself being outdated, increases in staffing throughout the decades have created additional strain. Though dispatch moved to Wisconsin Rapids, the space they vacated was filled last year with the detective bureau, which moved into the basement in an effort to maximize space resources earlier this year.
“Our department has changed a lot in 30 years,” said Gramza. “We went from roughly 33 employees when it was built, which included dispatchers, now to 48 employees. Some of the needs that we have are different than what they had when they built the place in the 1980’s.”
Prior to the study, Gramza and the department have attempted to maximize the potential of the current space in an effort to more clearly represent their needs.
“We’ve tried to make the best use of the space we currently have,” said Gramza. “We wanted be able to give those doing the study a true perspective of what we have.”
One specific area that has long concerned the department is garage space. Currently, the majority of police vehicles are parked outside year-round due to space limitations. This often means leaving the vehicle running during the winter months.
“In the climate we have here, when we need to get somewhere, and get there promptly, we don’t have time to be scraping windows,” said Gramza. “So, when it’s winter and it’s well below freezing, we often leave the vehicle running 24 hours a day.”
Additional limitations currently causing struggles for the department relate to evidence storage.
“Laws have changed over time to where a lot of the evidence we’ve previously been able to destroy after a period of time, some of those statutes of limitations have grown and we have to keep that evidence for a long time,” said Gramza. “The need for space for long-term storage is there as well as large item storage.”
Gramza hopes that the study provides a clear vision of what the future holds for the department in terms of facility and space needs.